Michigan Association of School Administrators

Your Success. Our Passion.

Member Blogs

Blog Authors

David Britton, Godfrey-Lee
Rich Franklin, Athens
Scot Graden, Saline
Tony Habra, Rudyard
Jerry Jennings, MASA
Michele Lemire, Escanaba
Vickie Markavitch, Oakland
Steve Matthews, Novi
Mike Paskewicz, Northview

MASA members: If you have a blog that you would like us to link please contact jharder@gomasa.org

Where we are going, not where we have been!

Written by Steve Matthews on Aug 29, 2014
It is attributed to Lou Holtz, famous football coach and sports announcer, to have once said:

The good Lord put eyes in the front our your headrather than the backso you could see where you are goingrather than where you've been. The new school year starts in my district on Tuesday, September 2nd.  I am committed to looking forward trying to see where we are going instead of worrying about looking back to see where we have been. The new school year beckons all of us. We could all waste time looking back.  We could mourn the loss of last year because we had the best teacher, the best team, the best lunch. We could mourn leaving last year behind because it was the best year of our life! We could also be eager to leave last year behind because it was, like Alexander's day, a horrible, no good, very bad year. We had a horrible teacher, a bad bus route, a no good lunch. So we look back eager to leave last year behind. But instead of looking back. I want us to look forward. Right now it is a clean slate.  My hope is that as we look forward we are anticipating the best, not fearing the worst.  My hope is that as we look forward we are committing ourselves to solving problems, not creating them. My hope is that as we look forward we will find the joy inherent in learning new things, not dread the work that comes with learning. A new school year starts Tuesday. I am looking ahead to see where we are going.

Staff Welcomed Back to School With Pancake Breakfast

Written by Michele Lemire on Aug 26, 2014
For the sixth year in a row, the staff at the Escanaba Area Public Schools has been welcomed back to school with a pancake breakfast cooked by the principals, supervisors, directors, athletic director, business manager, and superintendent. Led by Food Service Director, Nancy LaFave, the team had fun saying "hello" to everyone, while demonstrating their culinary/serving skills! Jude VanDamme's famous "E" pancakes were a strong favorite, however Bob Viau's waffles were also popular!

Following the breakfast, staff members were updated by Michele Lemire on some of the State's new policies and requirements. Julie Cass, school nurse, provided an overview about how to prevent, recognize, and treat anaphylaxis. Individual groups then met for building/task specific trainings and meetings. The staff members are committed to providing an enriching educational experience for our students once again this year!

Easing Into School

Written by Rich Franklin on Aug 21, 2014
Check out these tips for making the transition back to school easier for students and parents: http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/going-to-school/back-to-school/back-to-school-tips-for-parents/

POWER-ful Biz-ED Partnership Benefits MI Students AND Residents

Written by Vickie Markavitch on Aug 19, 2014

ABOVE: Consumers Energy Natural Gas BOOT CAMP Graduation Speakers (not shown: Patrick Van Beek, President, Midwest ENERGY Association)

“This partnership is a living example of business and education coming together to provide the workforce of today and tomorrow”… Dr. Markavitch

Dr. Vickie Markavitch, Superintendent of Oakland Schools, at Boot Camp Graduation Ceremony 2014: “Consumers Energy and our Construction Technology program at Oakland Schools Technical Campus (OSTC) came together to solve an industry problem: the development of a talented and sustainable stream of trained employees for the utility industry.

So was born the Consumers Energy Natural Gas Boot Camp – a six week summer program offering 52 training modules, along with strength training and hands-on lab work.

Eighteen students started the Boot Camp, using the nationally certified curriculum provided by Consumers Energy through Midwest ENERGY Association.

One of these students walked to school every day in order to participate, another stayed for extra lab time at every opportunity, and another finished the coursework early but remained to tutor and mentor his peers.

Fourteen of those original students completed the rigorous program; the training they successfully completed will provide them with a high wage and a high demand career option right here in Michigan – perhaps with Consumers Energy itself.

We have hopes of embedding the Natural Gas Boot Camp into OSTC’s Construction Technology program, beginning September 2014, as a viable pathway option for high school seniors interested in the utility industry.

Congratulations to all who have worked on this new connection for our students! You have enhanced the preparation of tomorrow’s talent, today. ”

IMAGE LEFT: Proud Oakland Schools Partners at the graduation ceremony also included Mary Kay Aukee (Executive Director of Career Focused Education) and Paul Galbenski (Dean of OSTC Northeast). Not shown: Dr. Terri Spencer (Deputy Superintendent for Instructional Services).

IMAGE RIGHT: Cynthia Scherphorn, Education Business Partnership Consultant (and Boot Camp program mastermind/coordinator!), making new program plans with OSTC Boot Camp Instructors James Sweeney and Duane Olds.


Consumers Energy Boot Camp Press Release

Oakland Schools Technical Campuses


Blog Editor: Jean MacLeod, Communications/Oakland Schools


 Oakland Schools • 2111 Pontiac Lake Road • Waterford, MI 48328-2736 • 248.209.2000



Our unexceptional schools are really quite extraordinary

Written by Steve Matthews on Aug 18, 2014
The official school data website for the state of Michigan (www.mischooldata.org), lists 51 districts/charter schools for Oakland County.

None are exceptional.

At least that is the impression given by the Michgan Department of Education's school accountability report cards. Official scores were released last week. Scores for Oakland County districts, like every county in the state of Michigan, were perceived to be lackluster.

No Oakland County district/charter school received the state's highest rating of green.

Over half of the districts/charter schools earned a rating of yellow.

In Novi, over 86% of our students were proficient in math. Over 95% of our students were proficient in reading.

For each district and school the state calculates its "bottom 30%". That is the state creates a group that is comprised of the lowest achieving 30% of the students in the district.

In Novi, over 54% of our "bottom 30%" were proficient in math. Over 85% of our "bottom 30%" were proficient in reading.

Yet, the Novi Community School District earned a "yellow" rating.

The state would argue that Novi has achievement gaps. That is true. We do. that appears to be the most powerful indicator of performance and the one the determines the overall rating of any individual school or district.

As a result, districts that are diverse. Districts that are large. Districts that have groups that the psycometricians can slice and dice will have a hard time being rated highly.

I am not opposed to accountability. I understand that parents want to know if their schools are being successful. Politicians want to know if the money that they are spending is being used wisely.

Schools need to be able to demonstrate that students are learning.

Any rating of schools should use test data.

But rating schools using test data alone ignores many of the good things that schools are doing.

Novi has a marching band of over 170 members. Novi has athletics and clubs that create opportunities for students not only to be engaged but to learn how to lead, how to work hard, how to set goals. Novi has a freshman orientation program that links upper-classman with incoming freshman. Novi sends fifth graders to camp and eighth graders to Washington DC. Novi teaches our elementary students about the seven habits. We have computer labs and laptop carts.

The Novi Community School District is exceptional in many ways. We have work to do. Of that there is no debate.

And Novi is not alone. There are many excptional districts and schools throughout the state of Michigan.

Can we get better? Of course.

I appreciate the state attempting to rate schools. But, in my opinion, the rating ignores many of the factors that make schools truly great.

In my opinion, many Michigan schools are quite extraordinary. Even though we are colored yellow!